Even in perfect weather, a smaller number of migratory birds returned to the Candaba Swamp this time around, partly because farmers now grow rice on what used to be idle ponds. Only 5,475 waterfowls of 31 resident and globetrotting species were recorded in the Asian Waterbird Census conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) in two sites in Candaba town on Sunday.
The figure was less than the 12,600 birds recorded in 2012 and the 8,600 counted in 2011. Bird watchers saw two new species this year, though. Alain Pascua photographed a dusky warbler (Phylloscopusfuscatus) at the Doña Simang site in Barangay Vizal San Pablo. Mike Lu, head of the WBCP, said this was the second sighting of this species in the country. The common shelduck (Tadornatadorna) was first seen in Candaba this season, Lu said. Mayor Jerry Pelayo said rice planting in November reduced the number of ponds that usually host migratory birds.